As soon as we arrive home from a trip out of town, we collect our suitcases from the baggage claim area, walk them out to the parking lot, load them in trunk, pile into the car and head to the Alamo Cafe - nearly every time. The Tex-Mex food calls our names, welcoming us back home to Texas.
We walk past the fountains bordering the path and step through the doors. There they are right behind the glass - fresh tortillas making their way through the fascinating machine that takes the round balls of dough and presses them flat. The baskets of tortilla chips sit on shelves waiting to accompany us to our tables.
Although we've been there countless times, we cannot resist looking up at the ceiling. There a blue sky and white fluffy clouds transition from sunrise to sunset as special lightning makes its way across the length of the restaurant.
A wall of noise meets us as we make our way down the gentle slope that runs along a little indoor waterway. Everyone seems to be talking at once. It is this, the feeling of family, as well as the delicious food that welcomes us home.
We hadn't been on a trip away from home, but we made our way there last Saturday evening after church - because, after all, you just have to every so often. Our hostess took us to our table in the center of the large dining room, leading the way with chips and salsa. As soon as I was seated, she caught my eye.
Seated at the table next to us was a young father with two little girls. One with lovely golden skin and shiny black hair, the other fair with hair that curled gently around her face. She was flirting outrageously with the older man seated behind us. He was so taken with her. I think she was around two - perhaps a bit younger. Her little sister didn't look more than a year younger.
Dad was doing very well with his girls - doling out little morsels of food, soothing the occasional cries. Then Mom came to the table - with another little girl who looked very much like the baby. She was about the same age as the little flirt. I, being a very well brought up lady, tried really hard not to stare, but I was so fascinated. The three girls were so close in age, it must have been a bit like having triplets.
Mom didn't get to stay in her seat for more than a few minutes at a time - taking one after the other to the rest room, retrieving dropped cups and feeding the little one. Dad was very busy too. The girls were so good with only a little bit of crying every now and then. At one point the young father looked at me (I guess I wasn't as subtle as I had hoped to be) and said, "I'm sorry for all the noise and mess."
I just smiled, "I think you're doing a wonderful job."
And they were. They never seemed upset or flustered. They were so patient and good humored.
We talked for a few minutes and discovered that all three of the children had been adopted. The two little dark-haired girls were siblings. Apparently the timing of the adoptions had taken them by surprise, but they were obviously smitten with their sweet daughters.
"It wasn't quite the way we had planned," she said, "but it was God's plan."
Ah yes, God's plan, and His plans are always good.
We finished our meal a bit before them, said good-by and walked out to the parking lot.
"I should have paid for their dinner," my husband said as we got to the car.
"I think they're still there."
They were. He did. We were so blessed.